In the beginning, there was darkness. All was formless waste and empty void - The quiet nothing without time or place, the gentle sleep that has no waking.
All was still.
Nothing stirred in the darkness.
Then there was light.
The light separated the Darkness Above from the Darkness Beneath, and there was disparity between them. Between the darkness and the light there was also disparity, and shadows flickered therein.
The light shone in the darkness, and was not overcome. Likewise the darkness was not destroyed, but given form both Above and Below.
From the darkness came the Eldest, the All-Death. He came from the darkness and was of the darkness and was the darkness, and nothing to come might pass beyond him. Vast and mighty was he, that no other might comprehend the reach of his arm, or the length of his gaze.
The Eldest sat by the light and watched it for a time, for he found the light good.
The All-Death was not proud, firstborn though he was. He encompassed all that was and would be within the light and the dark, and so knew the manner of its turning and the hour of its passing. Only he might care for the light and what was to come, for only the Death of All Things might reach so far and be so just.
The light grew in the sight of the All-Death and became fire. As fire it burned and spread outwards, and with the fire came a song: a song of the hammer-beat of creation’s forge, the roaring of nuclear bellows, the crystal choirs of quarks, the somber tones of gravity wells, the shimmering waves of plasma cast off of infant stars.
Death listened to the music, and found it good.
From the darkness then came the Great Death, the Middle Brother. He was not so mighty nor as vast as the Eldest, though his reach was wide indeed. His domain was to be catastrophe, and thus his face was obscured by wrought metal and stone. Mountainlike he came, the Death of the multitudes, and his heralds came with him – their names were Conquest and War and Famine and Disease.
“Hail and well met, Brother!” spoke the Middle to the Eldest.
“Well met, Brother,” spoke the Eldest to the Middle. He motioned, that the Great Death might take a seat beside him, but the Middle Brother remained standing in the shadow of the Eldest, for he did not presume equality with his brother, and held fears of the unknowable reaches of his brother’s mind.
The Eldest took no insult from this, and blew upon the fire to kindle it.
Within the fire now could be seen the faint outlines of trunk and root and branches, as if made of the finest crystal. The fire flowed through the tree and within the tree and around the tree, and the song was carried ever louder through the shining branches and strong roots.
“It is good, is it not?” asked the Eldest of the Middle.
“I cannot say whether it be good or not,” spoke the Middle to the Eldest. “It is not my place to declare such things.”
“For this you are my brother true, and shall help me carry the weight,” spoke the Eldest to the Middle.
From the darkness now came the Small Death, the Youngest Brother, pale of face and dark of robe, hard of eye and strict of hand. A silver sickle he carried, and it was by this tool that each soul born would be collected.
“Hail, brothers,” spoke the Youngest.
“Hail. We are together at last,” spoke the Middle.
“Indeed,” spoke the Youngest.
The Youngest did not approach his elder brothers, but remained apart from them. He was small in reach and mind, and his thoughts were narrow, such that the mind of the Middle was terrible to him, and the mind of the Eldest more horrible still. He watched the fire with cold silver eyes, but said nothing.
“It is good, is it not?” asked the Eldest of the Youngest.
“By what measure do you make cruelty goodness?” spoke the Youngest. “By what cost of pain must life be bought? By disparity we are made, and by disparity we are made necessary, yet why must it be so?”
The Eldest did not answer. He knew the mind of the Small Death, and knew of his fears and doubts. No answer he might give would aid his brother, nor any truth give him solace. The answers he sought were known to the Eldest alone, and he alone might understand them.
The Eldest rose, and towered over his brothers. His countenance was as dark as the void of his birth and his robes as white as the same. Above his head, shadows swirled about in the dark vaults of the heavens – the first of the elder gods kicked in their womb, and likewise in the abyss beneath his feet they swam. The tree grew tall and broad, shone bright and sang loud.
“Come, brothers,” the Eldest said. “Let us go to our halls and take up our residence there. A great work awaits us.”
There was agreement between the Great and the Small, and the Brothers Three passed from the light of the tree into shadow.
Later, there was the click of sensible heels, and a woman stepped out of the darkness. She beheld the tree for a moment, before stepping into its light and passing beyond.
The tree grew strong, and the vaults of heaven and the depths of the abyss gave birth.
This is how creation came about.